UAE: One-year leave to start business secures future of employees and families, say Emiratis

Sabbatical gives young people time to create working model, a prototype, execute it and find investors



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File
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Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Thu 7 Jul 2022, 10:01 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Jul 2022, 10:51 PM

Emirati youth, entrepreneurs and government employees have praised the UAE leadership's decision to provide public sector workers with a one-year sabbatical to launch their businesses.

Several citizens Khaleej Times spoke to have said a one-year paid sabbatical would allow youths to focus on their businesses in their most crucial early stages without compromising their family's financial commitments.

UAE citizens working in the government sector will be given paid leave at half their salaries to launch their businesses under a new initiative launched by the country's leadership.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced the new plans after chairing a Cabinet meeting at the Al Watan Palace in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

'One-year time is great to get a business going'

Alanoud AlHashmi, the founder and CEO of the Futurist Company, "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is a visionary. He understands how important it is to support the country's citizens to achieve their dreams. We are a population of only 1.3 per cent (approximately) out of UAE's total population of 10.2 million. He understands that we come from a place of several hardships and the UAE leadership understands the value in supporting its youth."

Alanoud AlHashmi, the founder and CEO of the Futurist Company. Photo: Supplied
Alanoud AlHashmi, the founder and CEO of the Futurist Company. Photo: Supplied

Alanoud cited examples of businesses born in the UAE and said, "Look at Talabat and Souq.com. They have become unicorns in the country thanks to its business-friendly environment."

She added, "For Emirati youths to form such companies, they have to invest a lot of time and money, which could impact their family's lives as the cost of living in the UAE is very high."

The entrepreneur said the year-long sabbatical gives young people enough time to create a business model and a prototype, execute it and find investors.

"The decision is a powerful one from an innovation and economic standpoint. We might be a small country geographically. However, we are one of the most developed nation's thanks to our futurist approach," she stated.

Alanoud also said she wishes she had the same opportunities to launch her own business while working in government. "One of my businesses had to be closed as I could not devote enough time to it while working. This is a great plan, and those with great ideas must go for it," she said.

'Early stages of a business are crucial'

Saoud bin Hamoodah, aerospace mechanical engineer based out of Abu Dhabi. Photo: Supplied
Saoud bin Hamoodah, aerospace mechanical engineer based out of Abu Dhabi. Photo: Supplied

Saoud bin Hamoodah, an aerospace mechanical engineer based out of Abu Dhabi, said, "As UAE citizens, we are 100 per cent supportive of our govt regulations. The people of the UAE and the government are the same. I had a business a while ago. However, I am more focused on my engineering work at the moment. I would consider going back to being an entrepreneur."

Hamoodah also said the initiative serves local youths well as there is a lot of interest within the community to start their businesses.

Hessa Alhammadi, government employee. Photo: Supplied
Hessa Alhammadi, government employee. Photo: Supplied

Hessa Alhammadi, a government employee in the media sector, said, "I think such an announcement would put a large focus on the youth, and it would encourage them to pursue their goals."

Hessa believes many young Emiratis have already begun building their businesses. "This would help the youths not lose out on the benefits of working in the government sector. Moreover, this would turn the attention of young Emiratis to the private sector and make them more receptive to the opportunities available outside government jobs."

Mohammed Al Jasmi, NFT expert. Photo: Supplied
Mohammed Al Jasmi, NFT expert. Photo: Supplied

Mohammed Al Jasmi, an NFT expert and Emirati national, said the sabbatical is an incredible idea for young people as the early stages of a business are crucial.

"I believe the smartest ones are going to go for it. They have a whole year to focus and build upon their ideas from scratch. Businesses need a lot of time, especially in the early stages. I have a lot of friends who are having trouble staying on their business and working at the same time. This would help them."

Mohammad Al Hammadi, Owner of Bake N More Factory. Photo: Supplied
Mohammad Al Hammadi, Owner of Bake N More Factory. Photo: Supplied

Mohammad Al Hammadi, the owner of Bake N More Factory, said, "UAE is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) are becoming the backbone of our county's economy, representing 95 per cent of all establishments in the Emirate." He added, "This impressive feat has been achieved through an integrated system enacted by the government and their support of entrepreneurship."

Al Hammadi said, "Entrepreneurship is the key to further growth of the sustainable economy, and We as citizens of this country are responsible for helping the growth of the country and for repaying the endeavours of our country leaders."

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